Thursday, February 11, 2016


Repurposed Desk into Potting Bench and Planter, image courtesy of a friend of the farm!
Recently, one of our "friends of the farm" blog followers sent us this picture.  It is a desk that she repurposed into an outside planter and potting bench.  Isn't it awesome?  She did a great job.  She took an old desk otherwise destined for the junk pile and painted it a wonderful pop of blue.  Then she added the Dutch flower designs to the drawers and used the top two for flowers.  On the back she added a pallet (aren't those things so wonderful and versatile?) and painted it the same color.  Then voila, a flat surface to use for potting and a place to hand tools.

I asked her if I could post it and she was more than happy to share.  I'm sure she'll read the comments here so let her know how awesome a job she did.  It certainly inspires us and makes us realize that even an old desk can have a wonderful new life as something else entirely (and I like the blue!).

Be inspired!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Here's another recipe that 2nd Man came up with out of necessity (i.e. lack of ingredients).  We had some good thick pork chops and some mixed bell peppers.  That was it.  Other than standard pantry and fridge staples of course.

First, he pan seared the pork chops in a cast iron skillet and then took them out and set them aside to rest.  Next, he put in sliced pepper strips, sautéing them until tender in the pan drippings.  They were left in the pan while making a standard gravy.  Flour and milk added to make the base of a gravy (like a roux) and then enough chicken (or vegetable) stock to finish it.  Stir and cook until thickened.  Lastly, he added the chops back to the finished pepper gravy to heat them back up and served.

Three Pepper Smothered Pork Chops
Plate the pork chops, adding three pepper gravy over the top.  We served with a  side of peas and mashed potatoes.  There isn't really a recipe to write down, other than cook some pork chops and make a good thick gravy with sautéed peppers.  Just more an idea of something to mix and make together that tastes yummy in the end!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016


 At the house in town, we had these original, built in cabinets on each side of the dining room.  They separated the living room from the dining room.  You might have seen them in the post about the last photos of the house.

Jadeite in vintage built in cabinet
Since we have a kitchen full of cabinets for our regular dishware, we used the built-ins for jadeite (also spelled jadite) green glass pieces that we've collected over the years....

Here is the WIKI entry for them.

Jadeite Collection
Here is one side.  Our collection is a mixture of both new (reproduction) and vintage pieces.  Some (the plates and coffee cups) were from my Grandmother's house, others my Mom collected and some we bought.  

Jadeite Collection
And here is the cabinet on the other side.  We have just always loved the color and it was easy to find them over the years and pick up a few here and there.  It's not a lot of pieces, in fact some is just spread out to fill up the shelves (nesting bowls for example) so we don't need a lot of storage space for them.

Our issue though is that we don't have room to display all of this at the apartment.  We decided to box them up and take them to the farm.  Of course, where we put them once they are there is another story.

We don't have any furniture that we could use as it is all being used for other items.  There is also no room for new furniture at the farm.  So we're leaning toward something like this...shelves above the kitchen doors and/or possibly the window. Since our walls are white, it might be a nice pop of color.  

Another project.  

For now, they are safely boxed up.


Monday, February 8, 2016


First, I checked the raised beds...took the tops off to check them and so far so good when it comes to them being greenhouses for weeds.  No real weeds to speak of, there were a few small ones in a couple of beds but with he addition of the rich soil/compost and keeping them covered, they pulled out in about 2 seconds.  I'm hoping that because the cold weather has hit, that is something we won't have to worry about for the rest of this off season.

Raised beds with covers
There was one issue I didn't think about though, rainwater!

Rainwater on raised bed covers
I think I'll have to either drill a few holes, or perhaps just put something under one edge to give them a slight angle, just enough for the water to run off.

But either way, so far so good!  The soil looks good and rich and things are moving along nicely!  I've been thinking of ordering some worms for a few of the beds and let them get a start.  

Now we are planning the garden plants.  We're starting small this year, to keep it manageable and not become overwhelming. Will probably just use four of the raised beds at first.  One with herbs and the others with a few veggies.  

Baby steps, right?

Next, the bees.  A few weekends ago, I was out at the farm, it was cold and damp and I checked the remaining beehive and bees going in and out, no activity at all. I was worried, being a new beek (short for beekeeper), we often don't know what to look for, what happens every month of the year etc.  Every book you read can give anecdotes and advice but having minds of their own, you never really know.  And we were worried, especially after the tipping incident a couple of months ago.  

When I saw no activity, I was afraid we had lost them.  I decided to peek inside (yeah, what can I say, I used to peek into my stocking at Christmas too, ha).  I tilted the middle box ever so slightly and there they were, all bundled into a ball, keeping the queen, and the rest of the hive, warm.  Yay!  I carefully lowered the box and kept my fingers crossed.  

And in great news... they are this weekend, coming and going in the beautiful Spring-like weather.  They have survived!!  While we could (and probably will) have another freeze, I'm hoping it's safe to say that they've made it now for almost a year.  We have a second package of bees already ordered and it will arrive in April.  Ariadne Hive will have a new neighbor in a few months.

Bee bed earlier this season
For those new to the blog, our ultimate goal is six hives, two each in three beds like this (we call them bee beds, just like flower beds).  The photo above is from earlier this year when we had them both up and running.  It is 8' long by 4' wide and filled with mulch.  It keeps the grass down and gives me an "edge" to go around with the mower (quickly!).

More baby steps, right?

Hope your weekend was good!


Sunday, February 7, 2016


It's time for a giveaway!
Enter once in the comments below.  
The giveaway ends Sunday, February 14, at 11:59pm.

Found this book recently as we were unpacking and realized that we can't have a tabletop garden at the apartment because the cats would think of it as an all you can eat buffet and we can't do it at the farm and not water it for a week so we decided to give it away.  

Here is the Amazon link if you'd like more information on the book:

The book is by author Janice Eaton.  Create a little garden paradise in every corner of your home and enjoy it year round.  Tips, illustrations and photos showing every step of how to create and assemble small gardens everywhere in your house using cuttings, seeds, rootings, etc.  

As always (and for those new to the blog) the rules are as follows:

We'd like you to be a friend of the farm" (we love having followers and Google recently deleted a bunch of them) but that's not required.  Please leave a comment here on this thread letting us know that you want to be entered.  Remember, be sure your name or your user name is on your comment so that we can have something to write down on the slips of paper when we have the drawing.  If two or three of you post as "anonymous", we can't know which "anonymous" wins if that is what is pulled.

The contest will run for one week, until 11:59pm, next Sunday night, the end of the weekend.  At that time, we'll randomly pick one winner, post the results and the winner will need to email us with their shipping address at that time.  

We'll ship your book directly to you within a few days.

Sorry, due to overseas shipping cost of a heavy book, giveaway is only open to US and Canadian residents.
One entry per person.

Thanks and good luck!

(leave your request below, we don't reply to the comments here so we can just have a list of the names entered)


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

Help Us Preserve Your Surplus Food, image courtesy of Library of Congress
Now this is an interesting poster image.  This comes from the early 1940's and was apparently a teaching/classroom type event that you signed up for.  In conjunction with the Work Project's Administration, Pennsylvania State College, Church Organizations and Garden Club, it taught people how to save and preserve their surplus food.  

I would love to have known what they taught, my guess would be canning?  How amazing would it be for groups to get together today to teach this? Of course, knowing today's society, some would say "surplus food? What's that?".  Sadly more food is probably thrown away today than was ever preserved then.

Hope you are having a good weekend!
Book giveaway coming tonight!

Saturday, February 6, 2016


We like wine.  But we don't understand all the tasting and smelling notes.  When someone starts talking about tobacco, blackberries, lemon rinds and oaky barrels as a good thing, our minds think "ashtray and trashcan at an orchard"!  We just know what we like and what we don't like.  So occasionally we'll post a review, our own review, it might make you want it or not, you might have a totally different opinion, but hopefully it'll make you laugh.  

It's all good fun, right...?

We picked up this bottle the other day.  It's Martin Fierro, an Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon.  Don't Cry for me Argentina...yeah, maybe on this bottle you will.  It pours out as a deep beautiful color in the glass.  Sort of what you'd think a wine color should be.  Alas, the taste was a bit off putting.  The best description we can give is 'bitter'.  I'm sure there is some technical term that goes along with that, but hey, bitter is not something you want to taste in the first sip.  It has a kind of a flat taste too.  Not very memorable, except in a bad way of course, i.e. "Remember when we had that?  Don't buy it again"

Now please don't equate the screw top with quality.  Many bottles are going to a screw top, even some very expensive bottles.  This was $8.99, on sale.  I think the regular price is about $11.00.


I don't know, um, lions, tigers and bears...oh my?


Bitter memories, Keeping up with the Kardashians, sticking your tongue on a 9volt battery


We didn't like it, in case you couldn't tell.  
Will not be buying it again.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Took this picture recently of some trees near the future (someday) pond site. 

Winter Trees
I liked it so I made it the background wallpaper on my computer at work.  It's nice to look at and daydream about the future.  It's funny, I had it up on my computer and a coworker walked by and said "I didn't see that one on the Windows wallpaper options, where did you get it?".  HA!

We had a freeze last night, I'm sure the plants and trees are so confused this Winter.  Hope you are having a good day!

Anyone have any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Flower Stand on porch, image courtesy of
After the post last week, we were still looking at furniture and I just love this one.  And I even like this color, ha.  The homeowner took an old cabinet, painted it a bright and cherry color and turned it into a plant stand, or more accurately, a flowering plant stand. 

We actually have a small cabinet that I wasn't sure what to do with.  It's in the living room and we really want a larger (and more useful) piece in that spot and so we could take the other cabinet and do this, or maybe a combination of last week and this week and make it a place for storing things AND have some pretty flowers on it. 

Be inspired...